EMS pants are an important part of a first responders wardrobe and can help EMTs and paramedics perform at an optimum level. A bad pair of EMT pants can limit range of motion and be uncomfortable for long shifts. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics tend to prefer professional looking uniform pants that are both comfortable and durable.
Comfort is extremely important for emergency responders because uniforms are often worn for 12 to 24 hours at a time and need to tolerate a lot of changing body positions and patient lifting.
Durable EMT pants are a must because first responders perform in extreme environments and under challenging conditions often, without changing their uniform pants.
Below are the Top 10 EMS pants for EMTs and Paramedics.
This list includes:
→ Top 3 EMS Pants
→ 3 Best EMS Pants for Warm Weather
→ Top 3 EMT Pants for Cold Weather
→ Best Pants for Women with Curves
There is also some shopping advice for tall first responders looking for a good fitting pair of uniform pants.
3 Best EMS Pants for Warm Weather
5.11 TacLite EMS Pants
There’s a reason the 5.11 brand is so well regarded in the EMS community. They are known for high quality reliable gear and the 5.11 TacLite EMS pants don’t disappoint. In fact, if you ask around about which uniform pants are the best, you will likely get many first responders recommending 5.11 EMT pants.
There are quite a few different tactical and EMS pants made by 5.11 and frankly, most of them are great for EMS field work.I will try to clarify and narrow down what to expect from a couple of my favorite EMT pants so you can choose the ones that work best in your work environment.
The TacLite EMS pants are lighter weight and more breathable than the original 5.11 twill EMS pants. This means they are better for warmer climates and times when you don’t want heavy uniform pants. These pants have plenty of pockets and the thigh mounted cargo pockets have internal dividers to further sort your gear.
There are enough pockets for your penlight, shears, cell phone, keys, tape, O2 wrench, pens and whatever else you want to carry around.
There is also an elastic band inside the waistband to maintain a professional look by preventing your shirt from coming untucked. Another feature of the 5.11 TacLite EMS pant is the teflon finish which repels moisture, fluids, stains and soil.
This style of EMT pants are available in both male and female sizes, however the links here are to the male sizes.
5.11 TacLite EMS Pants Features
• Check out this 1 minute video to see the features of the 5.11 TacLite EMS pants for yourself.
- Lightweight 6.14 oz poly-cotton blend.
- Taclite ripstop fabric for rip resistance.
- Breathable for usage in warm climates.
- Teflon treated to repel stains, liquids and soil.
- Extra pockets for EMS professionals.
- Double reinforced seat and knees.
- EMT pants can accept knee pads.
- Self adjusting waistband for comfort.
- Fully gusseted crotch for movement and seam strength.
- Double time belt loops.
- Prym snaps with YKK zipper.
Tru-Spec 24-7 Ascent Tactical Pants
No list of best EMS pants is complete without including the Tru-Spec brand. The Tru-Spec 24-7 Ascent Pants are technically tactical pants but they work perfectly as lightweight EMT pants. They are made for comfort and function well when working outside in warm climates.
The Ascent pants are made from a mechanical stretch fabric making them very comfortable to wear in the field.
These EMS pants have a water resistant finish making them resistant to liquids, soil and stains which is always beneficial for EMTs and Paramedics. Behind each cargo pocket there is an easy access drop pocket for cell phones which measures 4” wide by 6.5” deep.
Tru-Spec 24-7 Ascent Pants Features
- Dependable, comfortable warm weather pants.
- 6.5 oz. polyester cotton rip-stop fabric.
- Mechanical stretch fabric.
- Comfort slider waistband and 2” wide belt loops.
- Gusseted crotch for comfort and movement.
- Reinforced knees with ability to accept internal kneepads.
- Reinforced 2½” wide front utility pocket for penlight/knife.
- Inset cargo pockets.
- Drop pocket for cell phones behind cargo pockets measuring 4” wide by 6.5” deep.
- Check out video on Amazon page to see the pants features.
- Prym snap with YKK brass zipper.
Under Armour Storm Covert Tactical Pants
The third pair of best warm weather EMT pants is by Under Armour (UA). Under Armour is well known for their moisture wicking temperature controlling athletic gear, but they also make solid tactical gear. The Under Armour Storm Covert Tactical Pants are extremely comfortable and versatile which makes them perfect as EMS pants.
They are surprisingly comfortable in warm weather, but also manage to keep you warm in cool temperatures.
I recommend these EMT pants if you work in fluctuating temperatures throughout your shift and have had problems with getting too hot and too cold during one shift.
A mainstay of the UA Storm clothing line is the ability to repel water while maintaining breathability. These straight leg EMS pants also have anti-odor technology which is a bonus in any piece of clothing.
These UA Storm Covert pants are made from an ultra-durable ripstop fabric with a stretch engineered wasteband and have a loose cut for comfort. Overall, these EMT pants are durable, versatile and very comfortable.
These are not cargo pants so they don’t have a ton of pockets like many of the other EMT pants listed here. However, they do have two back pockets, two front pockets with a small knife pocket in the front right one, and a hidden zipper cargo pocket that runs down the left thigh seam.
UA Storm Covert Pants Features
- Lightweight material good for warm weather and keeps you warm in cold climates.
- Ultra-durable ripstop fabric for strength in the field.
- UA Storm technology repels water without sacrificing breathability.
- Not cargo pants.
- Open front and back pockets.
- Hidden zipper cargo pocket along left thigh seam.
- Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes.
- Straight leg EMS pants.
- 100% Polyester.
- Stretch-engineered waistband.
- Loose full cut for comfort and mobility.
- Durable, comfortable and versatile EMS pants.
3 Best EMS Pants for Cold Weather
5.11 EMS Pants
5.11 is a respected brand and these EMT pants live up to their reputation. The 5.11 EMS Pants were designed with input from EMS professionals and styled after the traditional 5.11 tactical pants.
They have a poly-cotton twill design that are good for use in cold weather climates and are heavier than the 5.11 TacLite EMS pants. The 5.11 EMS pants are engineered for enhanced durability with both comfort and range of motion in mind.
This style of EMT pants are available in both male and female sizes, however the links here are to male sizes. The self adjusting waistband has an elastic band to keep your shirt tucked helping maintain a professional look while stretching and lifting.
These EMS pants also feature extra pockets placed specifically with emergency responder’s needs in mind. They have cargo pockets mounted on the side of the thighs with dividers inside for extra organization. Extra cargo pockets are placed at the calf for more supplies.
5.11 EMS Pant Features
• Watch this 1 minute video to see the features of these 5.11 EMS pants for yourself.
- 7.25 oz. poly-cotton twill.
- Self adjusting waistband for comfort.
- Elastic band to keep shirt tucked in.
- Teflon finish to repel stains, liquids and soil.
- Extra pockets for EMS professionals.
- Double reinforced seat and knees.
- Fully gusseted inseam.
- Designed for durability and comfort.
- Prym snaps with YKK zipper.
Tru-Spec 24-7 Tactical Pants
Tru-Spec has a great reputation with tactical pants and the Tru-Spec 24-7 Cotton Tactical pants are one of the reasons why. These are 100% cotton and make great EMT pants, especially in colder climates.
These EMS pants are comfortable with a slider wasteband and wide belt loops. The reinforced knees have internal pockets that you can put kneepads in and they have the standard pocket design Tru-Spec is known for.
They have two deep cargo pockets with a hook and loop closure that contain two more internal pockets. There is also a utility pocket outside of each cargo pocket.
There are deep front pockets and expandable back pockets with hook and loop closures and two knife pockets.
Tru-Spec 24-7 Tactical Pants Features
- 100% cotton EMS pants.
- Good for cool climates.
- Slider waistband for comfort.
- Double reinforced knees with internal pockets for kneepads.
- Deep front pockets and expandable back pockets.
- Deep cargo pockets with 2 internal compartments.
- Utility pocket on outside of cargo pocket.
- Sizes available Unhemmed for tall EMS workers.
- Prym snap with brass YKK zipper.
Rothco Deluxe EMT Pants
Rothco has made some improvements on their basic EMT pants and released them in the Rothco Deluxe EMT Pants. These pants are made of a heavy weight poly-cotton twill material that performs well in cooler temperatures and the links here are to the Black EMT pants, but there are also Navy pants available.
The Rothco Deluxe EMT pants have extra wide belt loops, a zipper fly and two hook and eye closures instead of a snap. The expandable waistband is great for mobility in the field and it has a gripper band to help prevent shirt untucking.
The back pockets have a button and the reinforced front hip pockets are deep to prevent items from falling out every time you put your legs up to rest.
The Rothco Deluxe EMT pants have two large cargo pockets with flap closures and there is a scissor pocket on the outside of each leg’s cargo pocket.
The scissor pocket can hold pens or other items and it has two fabric snaps that can hook through the handle of your scissors to keep them from getting lost.
There are also two small calf pockets on these EMT pants which are easy to access when kneeling by a patient. These are good places to put extra gloves and alcohol wipes. The last pocket is above the right leg cargo pocket and it’s a large hidden zipper pocket.
Overall, the Rothco Deluxe EMT pants are focused on comfort, functionality and durability for EMS workers.
Rothco Deluxe EMT Pants Features
- Heavy weight poly-cotton twill material.
- 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton.
- Zipper fly with 2 hook & eye closures.
- Extra wide belt loops.
- Expandable waistband.
- Elastic band on belt line to prevent shirt untucking.
- Reinforced knees for durability.
- Functional pockets for first responders.
- Large hidden zipper pocket on right thigh.
- Two large cargo pockets with closures.
- Two scissor pockets with snaps to keep items in.
- Two small calf pockets for easy access while kneeling.
- Comfortable, functional and durable.
Top 3 EMT Pants
Under Armour Storm Tactical Patrol Pants
These Under Armour Storm Tactical Patrol pants are similar to the UA Storm Covert Pants listed above in warm weather pants. The main difference is that these UA Storm Tactical Patrol Pants are cargo pants.
These make great EMS pants because they are very comfortable, versatile and durable.
Add to this the anti-odor technology built into these EMT pants and first responders can handle anything that comes their way.
The durable ripstop fabric is polyester, lightweight and is great for warm and cool temperatures, even when they happen during the same shift.
These cargo pants are good for shifts when you tend to get both too cold and too hot throughout the day and night. Basically, weather that’s between 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
These EMS pants have a loose full cut for comfort, straight legs and two cargo pockets with internal magazine holders. They have a fairly simple cut and minimal pockets compared to many of the other cargo pants on the market.
The UA Patrol pants also provide a stretch engineered waistband, reinforced knees and reinforced crotch for maximum comfort and durability.
UA Storm Tactical Patrol Features
- Breathable, durable and comfortable.
- Loose, full cut with straight legs.
- 100% Polyester – (not good for use with open flames).
- Storm line technology repel fluids.
- Ultra-durable ripstop fabric for toughness.
- Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes.
- Stretch-engineered waistband add comfort.
- Reinforced knees & crotch.
- Dual cargo pockets for storage.
- Lightweight pants good for warm and cool weather.
LA Police Gear Operator Tactical Pants
There are some of us who have been through multiple pairs of EMT pants, have tried many brands and are searching for a comfortable but great pair of EMS pants for work. The other 9 uniform pants on this page are for those people!
The LAPG Basic Operator Pant with Elastic Waistband is for the first responder who just needs good EMS pants and doesn’t want to pay a ton for the privilege. These are the lowest priced pants on this list, but that doesn’t mean they are crappy pants.
These have features you see in the more expensive pants like the cotton-poly rip stop fabric, a gusseted crotch, and elastic waistband for comfort and durability.
The large cargo pockets can fit an iPad mini and have a D-ring to attach any valuables. They doubled the fabric in the knees and the seat for durability.
As you can see these aren’t cheaply made by cutting corners, so if you aren’t too picky about your EMS pants and just want a good deal, give the LAPG pants a try.
An important note when choosing your size: These pants measure at the listed size when the elastic is FULLY stretched out. (Most likely you don’t want to wear them completely stretched out, so I would order a size larger than normal.)
LAPG Basic Operator Pants Features
- Lowest Priced EMS Pants on the list!
- 65% Polyester/35% Cotton.
- Rip stop fabric for durability.
- Double knee and seat fabric for durability.
- Weight of fabric: 7.5 oz.
- Elastic waste and gusseted crotch add mobility and comfort.
- Belt loops can fit typical 1.5″ and 1.75″ belts.
- Dual front D-rings and D-ring in each cargo pocket.
- Large cargo pockets can fit and iPad Mini.
- YKK zipper and Tac button.
- Available in Unhemmed sizes.
- Airport friendly hardware.
- Built in blousing string (removable).
An important note when choosing your size – These pants measure at the listed size when the elastic is fully stretched out.
Vertx Phantom Ops Tactical Pants
Vertx is known for their history of making uniforms for the military and public safety professionals. Their focus has been on a low profile tactile pant that is versatile, comfortable and functional which is reflected in the Vertx Phantom Ops Tactical Pants.
Technically, the Vertx are tactical pants but they have everything you want in a good pair of EMS pants.
They are lightweight, constructed of a poly cotton mini-ripstop fabric and treated with IntelliDry for quick drying. These are a more rugged and slightly stiffer material when compared with some of the other EMT pants and they don’t get much softer with repeated washing. It doesn’t make them uncomfortable though.
A big reason for this is the discretion used in pocket design and placement throughout the EMS pants.
The back pockets feature stylish flaps for more privacy and there is a slim line pocket at each hip for small gear like a knife or penlight.
In addition to the normal hip pockets there are hidden zipper pockets that offer discreet carry options at the entrance of each hip pocket.
The cargo pockets are triple bellowed so they keep a low profile when not in use but can expand for addition capacity when needed. Overall, these are high quality, professional looking uniform pants that have lots of pockets, but don’t look bulky or sloppy.
→ Check your body type before buying.
These EMS pants tend to run tighter around the upper thighs and waist while having a baggy calf area. They definitely are not MC Hammer pants. However, I can see these being uncomfortable for certain body types that have thick thighs, especially because the fabric is stiff and won’t stretch.
This is surprising because many athletic tactical guys have thick muscular thighs. People recommend getting them bigger to compensate, but then you will end up with extra baggy calfs. If you have this build, I recommend going with a different brand of EMS pants.
Vertx Phantom Ops Pants Features
- Low profile design.
- Looks more like a slack than a cargo pant.
- Articulated, double reinforced knees.
- Constructed of 6.50-oz Poly Cotton Mini rip-stop pattern weave.
- Treated with IntelliDry for faster drying.
- High quality stitching inside and out.
- Discreet pockets for professional look.
- Triple-bellowed inset cargo pockets expand for additional storage space.
- Slim line pockets at each hip.
- Tighter at thighs and waist, baggier calves.
- Rugged stiff fabric that doesn’t stretch.
- Concealed zipper pockets near both hip pockets.
- Back pockets have discreet flaps for privacy.
- 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton.
EMS Pants for Women
I’m a woman who has always worn men’s uniform pants while in the field. For many of us the men’s pants work fine, but there are some women who need EMS pants built with females in mind. Women with curves tend to find mens EMT pants to be tight fitting in all the wrong areas.
I have asked around and done research to find out if there is a type or brand of EMS pants that fit females better and there is one EMS pant that stands out above the rest for curvier women.
5.11 Women’s Stryke Pants
The 5.11 Stryke Tactical pants for women comes highly recommended for female first responders. Obviously, there isn’t one pair of pants that will fit every size and body type perfectly, but many female first responders preferred the stretchy material in these EMS pants.
They have a fixed waistband and articulated knees which can accept kneepads.
While these EMS pants do have 12 pockets, many women report that some of the pockets are too small and tight to be of much use. So don’t count on having full use of all 12 pockets.
The 5.11 teflon finish makes these pants fluid, soil and stain resistant which is always great for EMS.
The 5.11 Stryke pants are also available in mens, but the ones I’m recommending here are the pants for women.
5.11 Stryke Women’s Pants Features
• Check out this one minute video to see the features of these EMS pants for yourself.
- Comfortable two way mechanical stretch fabric.
- 6.76 oz. Flex-Tac ripstop fabric.
- Low profile cargo and fitted appearance.
- Fixed waistband and fully gusseted crotch.
- Bartacking at major seams and stress points.
- Teflon finish for fluid, soil and stain resistance.
- 12 tactical pockets – many are too small.
- Rinse washed.
EMS Pants for Tall First Responders
So far I haven’t found the perfect brand of EMS pants that fit tall personnel well. However, many brands have their pants available unhemmed which is a great alternative for anyone struggling with their pant legs. You can order them unhemmed and then take them locally to get hemmed for under $10 and you will have a great fitting pair of EMT pants.
2018 EMS Pants Buying Guide
When buying a new pair of EMT pants there are a few factors to think about. Buying EMS pants isn’t as big an investment as EMS boots, but you still want to get a quality pair of pants. Here are some tips on what to look for in a pair of EMS pants.
Personally I think comfort is the most important factor when choosing EMS pants. No matter how great the pants are, if they don’t fit well you will stop wearing them.
Our shifts are often 12 to 24 hours long in Emergency Medical Services, and for many workers, that time is spent both inside and outside of emergency vehicles. Having uncomfortable pants can make a 12 hour shift feel even longer.
2. Pick your fabric
All ten pairs of EMT pants listed above have the fabrics they are constructed of listed too because it’s important to know what your EMS pants are made of. There are a couple reasons why fabric is important when choosing pants.
First, if you live in extreme climates, fabric can be the deciding factor when buying EMS pants. If you work in hot and humid temperatures, I recommend staying away from 100% cotton pants and choosing a lighter fabric like a poly cotton blend. These tend to be more breathable and light weight.
For cooler climates EMS pants made of cotton are great, but keep in mind 100% cotton will take longer to dry than mixed or polyester uniform pants. Another option is to wear long johns underneath your favorite brand of EMS pants.
The second reason fabric is important is because of how they ignite and burn. This is only relevant for EMS workers who work near open flames or heat sources.
I recommend staying away from 100% polyester EMS pants and poly cotton blends if you will be exposed to direct heat or open flames.
The polyester and other synthetic fabrics are tempting to wear because they are comfortable, handle moisture better and keep you cooler. However, under extreme heat they can melt and stick to the skin, causing burn injuries. Fabrics like cotton and wool are much safer in these environments.
When choosing EMS pants you should have an idea about whether you want straight legs, cargo pockets or even extra pockets. EMS pants like the Under Armour Storm Covert Pants are straight legged and professional looking with one hidden cargo pocket that runs along the length of the hip seam.
Another good looking uniform pant is the Rothco Deluxe EMT pants which has extra pockets for anyone who likes more storage space.
Color is important factor when choosing EMS pants because many companies have color requirements. Often first responders are required to wear black or navy EMT pants.
Many cities don’t want their EMTs and Paramedics looking like police officers out in the field. EMT and paramedic students will often have color limitations too, so be familiar with your local requirements before buying.
Once you find a brand that fits you correctly, stick with it! Every brand is a little different. Some are snug in the thighs, calves or hips. The hardest part is finding the brand that fits well.
For this reason, many people enjoy EMT pants made with fabric that has a little stretch. This allows the pants to fit your body well without needing to wear super baggy uniform pants.
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Christina Beutler is the creator of EMT Training Base. She is a former EMT and a current Registered Nurse. Christina’s path changed after taking a Basic First Aid class while in Community College, and a career in healthcare opened up. Working as an Emergency Medical Technician led to a passion for nursing and a job working in the Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Unit right out of Nursing School. To learn more about Christina’s story, head over to the About page.